On March 20th I had an opportunity to fish a stretch of the Bitterroot River in Montana with my son, a local guide preparing for the upcoming season. With his dog in the raft and relatively little wind, who could ask for more?
The weather was mild, with a fair amount of blue sky between the occasional snow flurry, and the water was quite clear. The scwala stoneflies had been making their way toward the banks for a while, so we hoped to get some dry fly action. We weren't disappointed. Fishing dry-dropper rigs we brought at least a dozen nice trout to the net with half of them taking the big fluffy dries.
Of course, the real joy came from watching Dave handle both boat and rod and seeing that he is on his way to becoming a master--well beyond my skill level.
With Missoula only eight hours away by car or an hour by plane, it presents a great fishing opportunity. While the Bitterroot can get a bit crowded during peak season, it's nothing compared to what you can see on the Bozeman area rivers. And the Blackfoot River, Rock Creek, and some smaller streams offer wade fishing that eases the strain on the pocketbook. It would be fun to go there with a small group from the club.